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May 7, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Max Olson

Max Olson
  (4:03 PM)

Welcome to this week's edition of the HornsNation free chat. I'm sure we've got a lot to get into today so let's get started. Send in anything on your mind regarding the Longhorns football, recruiting and whatever your heart desires.

Chris (San Antonio)

If Quandre Diggs has another season like the one he had last year, will he declare for the 2014 draft?

Max Olson
  (4:05 PM)

Good question. When you start looking at some of these 2014 mock drafts that have begun popping up, I'm a little surprised Diggs isn't in the conversation right now. He'd need to have a really, really good season to leave, I think. He's got a good head on his shoulders and obviously Quentin Jammer will advise him on that decision. If he's competing for a Thorpe Award and All-America honors in 2013, I think he goes.

Chris (San Antonio)

Who was/is the better prospect coming out of high school: Johnathan Gray or Leonard Fournette?

Max Olson
  (4:07 PM)

Fournette is on pace to be the better prospect, but let's not forget Johnathan Gray went for 3,891 and 65 touchdowns in his senior season. I'll hold out judgment until after this fall.

Chris (Houston) [via mobile]

Who will be the next recruit that commits to Texas for 2014?

Max Olson
  (4:07 PM)

Unless somebody pulls the trigger in the next few weeks - and I'm not seeing a great obvious candidate - I think the Teuhema brothers are next at the end of May.

Jeff N. (Austin )

Who is our starting middle linebacker to start the season? Also, what role do you see Hassan Ridgeway playing this season? Dude looked like a beast in his HS film even if he was slow off the snap.

Max Olson
  (4:09 PM)

I know Carter has been beating the drum that it's going to be Santos, but I'm not ruling out Edmond yet. Needs to have a great offseason and get a lot more agile and decisive before the opener, though. Ridgeway, it seems, is turning into a rather intriguing option at DT. With Moore gone and no new DTs coming in with this recruiting class, I think you'll see him get some snaps this fall.

Miley likes it (Marble Falls)

With 2 senior punters next season will UT recruit strictly a punter or kicker/punter for the 2014 season?

Max Olson
  (4:10 PM)

If they're confident in the development of sophomores Nick Jordan and Nick Rose, they won't need to. I could see them bringing in a walk-on, but I doubt they offer a scholarship to one.

giovanni ($an antonio) [via mobile]

Would u say this year is bcs or bust for the longhorns?

Max Olson
  (4:10 PM)

This year is BCS or bust for the Longhorns.

Chris (San Antonio)

Do you realistically see both Hicks and JJ staying healthy for the entire year?

Max Olson
  (4:11 PM)

No. But Texas should have a lot better depth this time around in the event that they get sidelined.

ChrisJ (Aggie imprisonment)

Worst case scenario, if Mack Brown struggles, the next coach does worst, and UT falls behind BU, TTU, TAMU, TCU, and gulps U of H, can we join the SEC where we might instantly become relevant or will the UT brand be to much an afterthought by that time?

Max Olson
  (4:13 PM)

That is quite a scenario you've drawn up. This sounds like a 4-5 year proposal. How do we know the SEC will still be "instantly relevant" in 4-5 years? (I'm kidding, of course it will). No, I don't think Texas should waste any time thinking its future is in the SEC. A&M ain't letting that happen.

Alex (NY)

Have the coaches given any indication yet as to how they will use Daje Johnson? Even if Jones and Sanders don't end up missing much time, one has to figure he will see more work as a WR, right?

Max Olson
  (4:14 PM)

I think they'll remain pretty coy about that until the opener simply because Daje is the kind of talent who can catch people by surprise (See: first snap of the Baylor game). He's a legit weapon. Daje worked primarily at WR this spring and should be utilized more in the pass game.

Stephen (Houston)

Can you comment on Darrion Johnson's situation?

Max Olson
  (4:17 PM)

Actually, we're going to have a story about him up on HornsNation this week. Stay tuned.

Jeremy (Oregon)

Do you think that Texas would be better off if they left the big 12? Ive been asked this and there are pros and cons to both that i can think of, so to me is tricky question to answer. Whats your opinion on it? Thanks Max

Max Olson
  (4:20 PM)

I mean, it's a loaded question. I do not think independence is preferable, not at all. I think Texas is fine at it is right now until we reach the day when the 16-team superconferences are built. I do believe that day is coming eventually. Right now, there's no better (viable) alternative than what Texas has right now, and it wields an awful lot of power politically in the Big 12.

Jeremy (Oregon)

Do you see Texas landing any JUCO players this year and if yes then who?

Max Olson
  (4:21 PM)

We've got a story up on HornsNation.com today on one juco offensive lineman to keep an eye on, Carter Wall. Right now is the time when the UT coaches start talking to more juco prospects around the country. More names will emerge. I do think Texas has room to land a couple.

Dave Nelson (WNYX)

Who can the Big 12 attract to make it a top tier conference like SEC and Big 10? Follow-up: when will we be better than average again? I'm tired of being scared of Baylor.

Max Olson
  (4:23 PM)

The answer isn't BYU and, due to the ACC grant of rights deal, it's not going to be Florida State or someone else from that conference. To me, that would've been the only move that would move the needle. You should expect a better than average Texas team this fall.

Evan (Austin)

Hey Max, when was the last time Nebraska beat Texas in football?

Max Olson
  (4:26 PM)

Had to pull out the media guide. That would be the 1999 Big 12 championship game. Texas is 6-0 since. Why do you ask?

Texas Longhorn Fans (Everywhere )

We appreciate all the hard work that you guys do! Thanks For all the updates and the latest news. Yall represent the unversity well and wanted yall to know that from a fans point of view that your work never goes unappreciated. Just dont ever leave for Sooner nation ;) thanks fellas

Max Olson
  (4:27 PM)

Thank you for that. Very, very kind of you.

Jared (Chicago)

Which WRs will have 30 catches or more this season?

Max Olson
  (4:28 PM)

Davis and Shipley, for sure. Hard to believe Goodwin only had 26 last year. I would be curious to see if M.J. McFarland can put up 30 this fall.

Adrian (Austin)

Is it me or is this recruiting class looking a lot like last years? Promising start, loss of momentum, and then phase of decommits sprinkled with insignificant commits

Max Olson
  (4:30 PM)

No, I'd say this year is setting up for a lot more big-time recruiting battles that will get settled in December and January. Also, keep in mind that Texas is now essentially recruiting 2 classes at a time so there will be more 2015 commitments and recruiting to keep an eye on.

Damien ( 210) [via mobile]

If the longhorns joined the sec do u think they'd be able to get the top recruits not only from texas but sec states as well? Then would they be able to compete for titles every year like bama ?

Max Olson
  (4:32 PM)

They don't need SEC membership to pull that off. They just have to win more games.

Andrew W (Seguin, TX)

Do you think David Ash will leave his mark like Case and Vince did when he finishes his fourth year?

Max Olson
  (4:33 PM)

I won't guarantee he will finish his career with a national title game appearance, but I think David Ash has a chance to establish a very solid legacy in these next two years. He could go down as one of the guys who led them out of the transitional, mediocre years.

Dan (Austin, TX)

Do you think Damarkus Lodge commits to the good guys soon? Also, when do you think Siverand gets his offer and if it's soon does he close up shop shortly after?

Max Olson
  (4:35 PM)

I'm almost a little surprised Lodge hasn't committed to Texas already. But he's going to get A LOT of offers before it's all said and done, I think, so there's no hurry for him. If Siverand does get an offer, he'd likely decide quickly. That could come later this month or next month at UT camp.

Andrew W (Seguin, TX)

Has David Ash shown enough in the spring practices to make you a believer?

Max Olson
  (4:36 PM)

Didn't Tyrone Swoopes make people a believer with only one series of a spring game? From the three times I saw Ash live, yes, I thought he was the best QB on the team.

Max Olson
  (4:37 PM)

No questions about the Bob Stoops SEC comments so far? I thought surely some of you would've taken an interest in those.

Harlan (Waco)

Can Mac Brown survive a 7-5 season?

Max Olson
  (4:37 PM)

Man, that would be tough.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Texas Players do you think will be Great NFL Rookies in 2013?

Max Olson
  (4:37 PM)

Kenny Vaccaro. He'll start a lot of games in 2013.

Gary (Dallas)

Where do you think we stand with Solomon Thomas? Are the horns going to continue to recruit Darrion Johnson? Lastly, I've been hearing good things about Phillips, what should we expect from the other vacant safety spot? Who comes in and takes it, and can they make an impact? Thanks Max!

Max Olson
  (4:39 PM)

I know our ESPN Hot Board currently predicts Solomon will end up at Stanford, but I don't think he truly knows what he's going to do until he takes some official visits. If he stays in-state, it's going to be Texas. But there's a good chance he's open to going anywhere. As for Darrion, yes, his offer has not been pulled. I think Mykkele Thompson emerges as the other safety.

Joel (Southern Canada (VA))

The defense struggled immensely in 2012; missed tackles, allowing drives to stay alive on third and long, too many rushing yards etc...I know Manny Diaz took strides by even learning some of Standford's defensive techniques vs spread offenses.My question is, how will the defense favor vs the schedule opponents this year? What are the 3 main things he needs to fix or coach to become a Top 10 defense again?

Max Olson
  (4:41 PM)

I know it's coachspeak but the execution was pretty awful at times last year for Texas' defense. That's No. 1. I think a strong linebacking corps that provides accountability in the run game and can get off blocks is a must, too. And third, consistent and disruptive pressure up front. Texas had a lot of talented defensive linemen but was still too inconsistent in that area in 2012.

jared (austin)

if you had to pick your favorite aspect about covering the horns what would it be?

Max Olson
  (4:43 PM)

The free Coke Zero in the press box? Just joking. Telling people's stories has always been what's most important to me, and this job provides a ton of opportunity for that. Love the guys I get to work with, too.

Nicolai (Denmark, Europe)

Hi Max, appreciate the work you guys do here at HornsNation!There is no doubt that this season is HUGE recruiting-wise, but how many of the elite prospects (Tony Brown and Myles Garrett amongst other) have Texas on hold, until they know how they perform on the field? Also, I keep hearing stuff about Mack's potential retirement, things like "He won't be here two years from now", how much does that interfere with recruiting this year?

Max Olson
  (4:46 PM)

A lot of those elite guys won't decide until December, January or February. If Texas has a big-time 10-11 win season (much like the one A&M enjoyed last year), it will definitely get kids' attention. As for Mack's future, is it something that guys who didn't commit to Texas have brought up to me? Yes. It's always going to be something other coaches use against UT when recruiting, even if it's not entirely fair (I mean, he's the same age as Saban).

Vito (SA,TX) [via mobile]

Do u think the longhorns can go undefeated? If not who do u think has the best chance to beat them?

Max Olson
  (4:47 PM)

I don't think they'll go undefeated. Oklahoma, TCU, Oklahoma State, and Baylor will all be challenges, and of those only that OSU game is at home this year.

Stephen (Houston)

I'm really surprised to hear that Solomon Thomas is so worried about the number of DE's in Texas' '14 Class. He would be the best one and almost guaranteed a spot in the rotation as a freshman! Isn't he aware that there is currently only one true DE in the class, as McMillon appears destined for DT? Thoughts?

Max Olson
  (4:48 PM)

I'm sure Texas coaches are not telling Solomon Thomas there's no room for him. He'd play a big role in their future plans if he ends up in Austin.

Jeremy (Oregon)

Who is the one recruit that you enjoy talking to the most Max? Just curious haha i know if i was being called all the time i might get stressed but who is the kid that is always down to talk and humble about the whole process?

Max Olson
  (4:54 PM)

Shoot, that is a very long list. Always have great talks with Tony Brown and Daniel Gresham but there are a bunch others. In last year's class I really enjoyed chatting with Caleb Benenoch, Rami Hammad, Jacorey Warrick, Durham Smythe, Darius James, Jake Oliver and several others. I will say these 2015 kids are all really great to talk to, too, especially since they're all willing and excited to answer their phones.

Keith (Seattle, WA)

Who are the Longhorns targeting to replace decommited offensive linemen Demeterious Knox?

Max Olson
  (4:56 PM)

Keep an eye on Connor Mayes and Blake Blackmar, though neither has an offer yet. I still think Jovan Pruitt is an option.

giovanni ($an antonio) [via mobile]

Do u think malcom brown could start @ running back on any of the other 9 teams in the big 12 ? I can see him and j gray getting a 1,000 yards each this year what do u think?

Max Olson
  (4:58 PM)

He wouldn't start at Baylor and *maybe* not at Oklahoma, but yeah, pretty much. I don't think both guys get to 1,000 but I do think Gray will.

Jeremy (Oregon)

What did Bob stoops exactly say about the SEC? i must have missed it..

Max Olson
  (4:59 PM)

Enjoy: http://bit.ly/18rSIsW

Hanley (El Paso)

How does the scholarship numbers game work? How is it that some teams can sign 30+ recruits in a single class?

Max Olson
  (5:01 PM)

I'll try to summarize this is briefly as I can: You can only sign 50 in any 2-year period. Texas signed only 15 last year. Thus, they're capable of going for more than 25 if they want. Obviously, though, you can't (shouldn't) offer more guys than you have room for on your roster. Teams with a lot of seniors and a lot of offseason attrition (transfers, retirements, etc.) have room for 30 .

John (Fort Worth, TX)

Besides David Ash, whose performance in 2013 will be relied on to carry this team to meet the teams' goals?Is there such a player on both sides of the ball?

Max Olson
  (5:02 PM)

I think you can make a case for Jordan Hicks being that guy on defense. And, on offense, they often get overlooked but Trey Hopkins and Mason Walters can become those leaders too.

Auggie Garrido (Austin, TX)

Should I have all players swap out their urine so that we can have a respectable, contending, baseball team again?

Max Olson
  (5:02 PM)

I was hoping somebody would ask about this.

Newton (Hale, TX)

Are the Horns working to address their punting problems?

Max Olson
  (5:03 PM)

Anthony Fera will likely be that guy this season. He was an All-Big Ten caliber two-way kicker at Penn State. If healthy, he can be an effective punter.

giovanni ($an antonio) [via mobile]

After the 2007 season texas was an afterthought as a title contender. Then they beat the #1sooners in an epic 45-35 battle, but later stumbled against tx.tech do u see them having a year like 08' this year?

Max Olson
  (5:05 PM)

I think a lot of folks around here will continue to judge the program by how it fares vs. Oklahoma.That game will, as usual, say a lot about what road Texas is heading down in 2013.

Max Olson
  (5:06 PM)

Well guys, that's all the time I've got for today. Thanks for all your great questions. Keep reading HornsNation.com for the latest on all things Texas and have a great night.